Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ying and Yang of race day

St Anthony's Triathlon, the big event here in the Tampa Bay area.  Thousands of participants, an awesome PRO field, and even Mr, "DWTS" & chocolate milk, Hines Ward was there.

I knew, I wasn't in "race shape" but was peer pressured into doing this race anyway.  I can hear my mother's voice in my head right now, "So if all your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to do it too?" Well, maybe not jump off a bridge, but Olympic Distance Triathlon, sure, what the hell!  Oops, sorry mom.

Now the twenty four hours or so before race start were interesting to say the least.  Saturday morning, Kari treated me like a star athlete.  She cooked an amazing breakfast, which we ate on the patio.  It was an awesome start to the day.  Have I mentioned how wonderful she is?  Another cup of coffee, then off to get with my crew, check out the expo, get in the water for a practice swim.  I packed the bike on my car, she kissed me goodbye  and said "don't forget sunscreen, looks like you're going to need it."   Insert music of impending doom.  (DUM da duh dum, DUMMMMMM, yes pun intended)

I parked my car at the Northshore pool, and was so excited to get with everyone, I jumped on my bike, grabbed a drawstring bag, with my goggles.  Yes you guessed, left the sunscreen in the car.  I found Brad, Nick and Scott jogging towards swim start so I spun around and rode along side them.  We stripped our shirts off climbed down the stairs and into the water.  This was just to get the feel for water, and stretch out.  The water temp felt great, and although a little choppy no big deal, ok turnaround and back to the stairs.  The metal stairs.  On practice, day no one is there to grab you by the arms and help you up, and a swell kind of grabbed me and I smashed my foot (big toe took the brunt of the blow)  and so it begins.  We went back to the expo, watched the pro press conference which was fun.  We checked our bikes into transition and Brad "Iron Goof" gave me the coolest gift, an A-Train tank top that said "Coach Pete"  Then Brad said, "Dude, you need to get out of the sun"  Yes, my shoulders, and neck were toasted.  This should be fun.  Let's see, what else could go wrong, well I'll spare you the details, but I didn't feel well, barely slept, and couldn't eat.  4:00am, this should be fun.

Pete, Nick, Brad Pre-Swim Start
We get to the race site, about 5:30am and can see the trees bending and the water is moving violently.  Oh yeah, this is great.  But, I'm with my friends.  You were expecting a race report, so here it is in a nutshell:   I had a slow swim, a slow bike, and an abysmal run.  Yes it was a lousy race, but, I was out there and it was a great day.

I lost a water bottle out on the bike course, so I ran short of fluids.  My plan was to pick up one more bottle carry it with me out of T-2, drink it and toss it.  But, I came out of T-2 and didn't feel too bad, I knew I didn't have much left, but thought for sure 10 minute miles were doable.  I saw Kari and her niece Katie, who was holding a sign telling me to RUN FASTER.  Some high fives along the way and the energy is flowing.  I hit the grassy area, and that's when the left calf decided it didn't want to play anymore.  Grab a tree, toe raises, stretch... come on.  Ok let's run!  this went on for 5.2 of the 6.2 mile run.  But I love being out there, the words of encouragement, the slaps on the ass, (Thanks Cheryl) Beth, Jaye, Kimberly, Sean, Jon and everyone out on the run course who encouraged me, thank you!  Megan caught me with about a mile and half to go, yes I was walking, actually limping, but she stayed with me and shared the last of her nutrition.  With less than a mile to go, I decided that's it, I don't care anymore, let's bring it in as hard as I can.  I'll spare you the finish photo, it wasn't pretty.

Thank you Kari
What makes it all worthwhile is the finish line and who is there for you.    I cannot believe how many people I heard screaming my name in the finish chute.  Seeing so many awesome friends is the greatest feeling. More importantly its having someone with you from start to finish.  You know that special someone who woke up at 4am to hold your stuff, to cheer you on and be there at the finish line.

Yes, I had a lousy race, but I had a great day!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The A-Train Crew: The Whiner

I told you I was going to start introducing you to the A-Train crew.  I thought it only fitting to start off with someone who's been around from the beginning.  Someone who has been on the podium more than once.  Someone we affectionately call the WHINER!  Now we had another whiner on the team, but her nickname is Hollywood, but I digress.
Jamie holding Yvonne Van Vlerken
up after her win at Ironman FL 2012

Without further adieu, JAMIE BREIBART, aka:  The Whiner

Jamie and I began training together during the summer of 2011, getting ready for the Nations TRI in Washington, DC.  We started with our Team In Training "buddy runs" on Thursday evenings at Bayshore.  It was a great crew of people.  We've always talked about how close you become training together, and yes, Jamie and I had all sorts of conversations, during those long bike rides, or runs.

A workout isn't complete unless she tells me she hates me at least once.  We've ridden in the rain, and cold, we've run in the blistering heat.  We've logged a lot of pre-dawn miles together.

Jamie Hanging with Lance the night before
Ironman FL 70.3 2012
You can always spot Jamie during a race, donning her Auburn hat.  She always appreciates a loud "WAR EAGLE" as she's running!  During Nation's Tri in 2011, I was running opposite the course from the finish line out trying to catch up to all of my crew.  One of the first spotted was Jamie.  She was giving it everything she had, despite some serious blisters.  I crossed her path, and asked how she was, her reply:  "I feel like $#`%!"  I slapped her on the butt and told her to keep going.  She kept running, and she always does.

At REV3 70.3, last year in Venice, FL, she tried to pick me up on the run.  I had busted out the bike leg, and had nothing left for the run.  (I know, real rookie mistake) I was cramping badly, when she caught me.  Now she turned into the coach,  I managed to stay with her a mile or so, but just couldn't hold on.  I crossed her on the run a couple more times, and found my legs after mile 5.  Exchanging high-fives on the 2 loop out and back course, was just what I needed to maintain a reasonable pace for the second part of the 13.1 miles.

We've been through alot together.  We've seen each other at our best and our worst, whether its training, racing or in our personal lives.  I cannot wait to meet her at the finish line at Ironman, Florida. Who get's there first, won't matter as long as we get there.
The Three Amigos at REV 3 Venice, FL 2012
Brad "Iron Goof" Minus, Jamie "The Whiner" Breibart, Pete

Stay tuned:  Next week, we'll talk about, "The Iron Goof"

Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Hundred, Ten!

Two hundred, ten! Two hundred ten days, until IRONMAN Florida in Panama City, FL.  If you are registered for it too, I bet that got your heart pumping.

Focus, focus.  I know I have been lacking in focus in my training lately.  My good friend Brad, the "Iron Goof" said the same thing in his blog.  Brad, was shocked I hadn't signed up for St Anthony's Triathlon at the end of the month.  So he and Nick dialed up the pressure, and guess what, I'm in.  I know it won't be a PR, but that's not the point.  I knew that if I hadn't signed up, I'd be on the sidelines and very grumpy about it come race day.

The fact is I need to get into a race, just to know I still got it.  Please be kind, especially if you see me on the side during the run heaving up my lungs.  I do give you the right to slap me on the ass if you pass me and I'm walking!

So here I go, kicking off the race season with St Anthony's Triathlon in St Petersburg, FL.  It is a great race, and looking forward to hanging out with everyone, and seeing a really stacked field of professionals.

That's right, when your training feels a little flat, sign up for a race that's three weeks away!  BRILLIANT!  Let's see, what are some other good ideas, oh yes, sign up for a Half Ironman!  Sure, did that too!  Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September, here I come.

What every athlete needs, is passion, drive and some real supportive friends!  I have all of the above.  This season things are a little different.  I'm racing with a purpose and for a cause.

No number of miles I ride or run, will lessen pain of losing my mother.  I can however try to help other people, in her memory, and that is what I am doing.  I am training and racing and raising money for "Little Things for Cancer" and "Miles 4 Hope".  Both organizations helping families that are fighting cancer and brain tumors.

Ironman is a test of strength and determination! Well let me tell you a little something about my mom.  No one was stronger or more determined than her.  She was always there, for everyone in the family, aunts, uncles, cousins no matter what.  She was there, organizing what needed to be done and getting it done herself.  She would move an entire house of furniture around while Dad was at work even with a reluctant young helper, that might have pouted.  She was Harriet Nelson, June Cleaver and Wonder Woman all rolled into one.

In her last days she taught us all one final lesson.  That is just how precious life is, and how you fight with your last ounce of strength for it.  You fight for every breath, you fight for your family with all your heart no matter what, right down to the end.  I will be thinking of her throughout every mile of the 140.6 miles on that day in November.

Please help me get to the start line, and I will do my best to get to the finish line!